Monday, March 30, 2015

Loving this boy

I’m sorry I haven’t been a very good blogger lately. As I said in earlier posts, I’m getting to the point in our adoption journey with Matthew where I’m struggling to know how much to share in such a public venue. This is Matthew’s story, after all, and while I’ve never tried to tell the story from any perspective but my own, I’m trying to discern where that magic line is where I tell stories that aren’t mine to tell.

I’ve also realized lately that I’ve become good at talking about the things that are hard—and believe me, there have been many hard things in this adoption journey. I have wanted to be honest about our adoption story—particularly the hard things I wasn’t expecting. 

There continue to be changes and movements with Matthew in his development. We’ve done some genetic testing (which revealed nothing—a relief, to be honest!) which helps us rule out any kind of large genetic concerns, but also affirms even more that Matthew’s delays and challenges are due to poor prenatal care or a lack of stimulation and attention during his early months of development.

We are also working hard to support his development by moving him to a preschool that provides extra support in Matthew’s social development (with an extended day schedule) and having regular consults with a behavioral specialist who knows and works closely with kids on the autism spectrum who have behavioral issues due to language and communication delays. All these things have been helpful in providing more clarity about Mathew’s delays.

These are all good things—moving us forward to give our kiddo as much support as we possibly can.

But that’s not really the point of my blog post today. Today I want to be that gushing mama who is so proud of her boy despite his many delays.

We spent this past weekend at an indoor water park in Northern Idaho with my husband’s family. Matthew had an amazing time playing in the water—exploring the river, going down the little kid slides, and just being a kid in his joy and delight. 

But at some point on Sunday morning, he got kind of tired and I took him for a ride on a raft on the meandering river. He put his cheek to mine and started to fall asleep in my arms, and I had this insignificant yet incredibly meaningful moment where I felt his little body in my arms and his soft cheek pressed against mine, and I realized how much I love him and am grateful he’s my kid. I write a lot about his delays and challenges, but truth is, I’m crazy in love with this little boy, just as a mama should be.

You might meet him and see a boy with delays, but to me he is perfect and gorgeous and doing just the things he should. I’m certain that in all the world, I’m his number one cheerleader. I couldn’t be more over-the-moon about him.

I don’t know why this realization surprised me so much. Perhaps it’s because I spend a lot of my time analyzing Matthew’s delays and challenges, and trying to find solutions to them, and the shiny luster of the mama relationship takes on a murky din when so much effort is spent just getting through each day. 

But when I actually have the time to reflect on our boy, I’m just so in love with him and so proud of how far he’s come. He’s adorable and his little body is perfectly formed. Yes, he has some strange behaviors, and he still struggles with communication. He’s a bizarre little guy in some ways, but all his bizarre behaviors are really normal and familiar to me, and they are him. And I love him so.

I guess mostly I just want to admit that despite his imperfections, he’s wonderful and beautiful to me, and I’m grateful to have him in my life. He’s teaching me so much each day and I wouldn’t trade him or his delays (and I really mean that) for anything. Matthew is making me the person I am (just as Maya and Sam are) and each of my three children plays a special role in helping me love them and others in the world better because I’ve learned to widen my arms and be more accepting and loving of everyone I meet.

And I know that in many ways I have Matthew to thank for that broadening of my love and my acceptance.

So yes, delays and challenges go on around here, but yes, I’m also head-over-heels in love with my boy. Every kid needs a mama who loves him just as he is, and I’m grateful to finally be in a place where I can say with honesty that I can give Matthew that kind of love. It has changed him for the better—yes—but it has also changed me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Two months in photos

I'm sorry I've been such a terrible blogger lately. It's actually been a wonderfully full two months, with Matthew starting a new preschool and some big steps for him socially and with his language development. But I'm spending so much time just living each day that I haven't found the quiet moments to reflect and write like I normally do.

I'll get back to more regular posts, I promise. But for now, here are some pictures, which give you an idea of how we've been spending our time.

Sledding in the Cascade Mountains

These kids were regular daredevils!

Matthew mostly watched (and thanks to Bebeth for this great photo!)

Aaron reading to Matthew and our friend Amara

Sunday walk on the Centennial Trail

Maya and Sam rode bikes while I jogged.

Watching Cousin Parker's hockey game

A trip to Port Townsend with our friend Lucie, who visited from Colorado

Matthew after his first day at his new (full day) preschool

Maya and her BFF Emma on pajama day at school

A canoe ride in one of the canals at Ocean Shores

A 70-degree day on the Washington Coast. Wow!